The Sickness of Safetyism
When I do training and safety people attend there is invariably someone who introduces themselves by the nominal ‘Safety Sam’ or ‘Safety Sally’. This is how they are known at work and want to be identified and unfortunately are proud of it. Funny, I’ve never met a ‘Teacher Tom’, ‘Dentist Debbie’, ‘Nurse Nancy’, ‘Churchy Craig’ or ‘Carpenter Karen’. What is it about this cult of safety that people think their identity should be tied to their activity? What is it about this industry that moves such vocational identity to brand oneself in such a way. It is indeed quite odd.
On the other hand I meet plenty of people in training sessions who say ‘I hate safety’ or ‘I’ve had a gutful of safety’. What they often mean is not that they don’t want to be safe but rather they are sick and tired of Safetyism. Rob Sams simply says” ‘I’m just not that into safety any more’ meaning, he’s not into crusading (https://safetyrisk.net/are-you-a-safety-crusader-or-a-safety-leader/). Crusading in safety is called ‘Hyper-safety’ by Amalberti and of course is unachievable. Hyper-safety is a dysfunctional outcome of zero ideology and it’s impossible, Amalberti proves it mathematically.
In a random world with fallible people Safety is the only industry that speaks nonsense to people and worships life in Safetyism.
Safetyism is a mental illness like any other form of mental health where reality distortions are mistaken for living. Life is not about safety. I don’t get up each morning wondering about safety. Most people get up in the morning and wonder about breakfast.
The study of ‘cults’ and ‘isms’ was one of my studies in my theology degree including a field placement. Most people who wonder about cults or indeed culture have rarely studied it. One thing is for sure cults and isms make sense and have nothing to do with irrational thinking as many would like to believe. Indeed, trying to understand faith, belief and metaphysics is not something many people do. However, it is helpful learning about cults if you want to understand cult-ure. It was through a study of cults that Festinger discovered the pain of Cognitive Dissonance (http://netk.net.au/Psychology/Psychology8.pdf).
When we make something an ‘ism’ we move an idea to an ideology. An ism is generally a doctrine that becomes something in itself. Isms and ideologies are the same, they take on political and ethical force that often remain unknown to the devotee. Ideologies are enhanced by the:
· Absence of questioning
· Maintenance of absolutes
· Demand for absolute compliance
· Emphasis on dogma
· Demonising the enemy
· Closed systems
· Absence of critical thinking
· Logics of Binary Opposition and
· Reaction formation of identity against the enemy
These are all present in Safetyism.
Most ideologies are fundamentalisms. When an ideology takes on religious focus with its own soteriology (theory of salvation) then it becomes a cult. Further see: http://sidneydekker.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ZeroVision.pdf
There is nothing more dangerous to safety than Safetyism. There is nothing more dangerous to the need for care, helping and learning than Zeroism. The Safetyism and Zeroism of the World Congress in Safety is in plain view (https://safetyrisk.net/no-evidence-for-the-religion-of-zero/) boun tifully supported by the SIA. Having lived through a cult I know the damage and brutalism of religious ideologies. Of course this evolution is logical for an industry that shows no interest in either a study of consciousness or an ethic of safety.
We all look for transcendence for meaning and purpose and it seems sadly that people are looking in the wrong place Rob…and then there was Safetyism! I was introduced the other day, sadly, as the Safety person. I was crushed because the priming in that introduction stops all thinking and respect from others!!! I am not a Safety person and I am not into Safety at all!
Rob Long says
Classic Bernard, so true. They discussion about power is the elephant in the safety room.
Bernard Corden says
Any director of safety or corporate safety manager must be asked the following five questions:
What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you use it?
To whom are you accountable?
How do we get rid of you?